Thursday, November 7, 2013

Pumpkin Seeds

Halloween is over and chances are you probably carved some pumpkins for your front porch.  Did you save the seeds?  I hope so!  My birthday is in October and this year I decided to purchase a nice food dehydrator with some of my birthday money.  It's been almost constantly running since the UPS driver dropped it off on my doorstep about a week and a half ago!

My first project was pumpkin seeds.  I've made them in the oven before but I thought I might like to try them with my new toy this time.  Since I have never made anything in a dehydrator before I had to do some searching online which led me to discover all sorts of great health benefits of pumpkin seeds.

Did you know...
  • Pumpkin seeds are a great source of Magnesium.  You can eat up to half of the daily recommended does of magnesium in only 1 quarter cup serving!  Having some - ahem - digestive issues?  Have some pumpkin seeds!
  • The World Health Organization (WHO) recommends pumpkin seeds as a good source of Zinc.  It is best to eat them whole as a lot of the zinc is found in the thin layer of skin found just beneath the shell.  3.5 oz of whole seeds provides 10 mg of zinc.  The daily recommend does of zinc for men is 11mg and women is 8mg and is needed for healthy immune systems and to promote healthy cell growth.
  • They are a good source of Vitamin E which is great for fighting diseases including heart disease, stroke, and cancer.  It can even play a role in anti-aging!
  • When roasting seeds in the oven, try not to roast longer than 20 minutes to maintain the nutrition.  Of course they taste better if roasted longer so sometimes you have to just choose between taste and nutrition.
  • Using a dehydrator to roast your seeds allows them to keep their nutrition and the natural enzymes that are good for digestion.
Who knew pumpkin seeds were so rich in nutrients?  I didn't!

Get Roasting

Perhaps you still have some seeds your saving or a few pumpkins left that you haven't carved.  THIS is the recipe I followed.  It took about 24 hours in my dehydrator.  24 hours???  Yeah, I know, it takes some patience!  But they turned out great and super crunchy.

I have found that I like to eat them like sunflower seeds. I pop them in my mouth and use my teeth to pop the shell off.  You can eat them whole with the shell and all though.  I did some with just olive oil and sea salt, and some with pumpkin pie spices like nutmeg, cinnamon, and cloves with just a little bit of sugar.  They are tasty too but I prefer the salty ones.

Hope you had a great Halloween!  Happy roasting!

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